Enrique Fernández could be called an anomaly within the group of Start-Up Chile participants as he is one of the few people from South America taking part in the program. But, namely, he is the standout Chilean who has been granted the sizable subsidy to further develop his business, SupplierSync. Though Start-Up Chile is an initiative that seeks to import exclusively foreign entrepreneurs to Chile, Enrique was granted approval into the program because he had been previously living in China, and then moved to Berlin, to complete an MBA at HTW University of Applied Sciences. His ample foreign experience was complimented by the innovative and global aspects of SupplierSync and thus he was accepted into Start-Up Chile.
SupplierSync as he describes it, is a private social marketplace where suppliers and buyers meet to create trade opportunities through collaboration and was created in September of this year. It is a “dating site for b2b companies” Enrique says (with a slight chuckle but in all seriousness), that was born out of his broad experience in sourcing activities seeing the need for buyers and vendors to have reliable partners. Initially, his goal is to focus on the China-Chile market seeing has he already has an exportation company in China and, from there, transform it into a platform between China and South America and eventually to be used worldwide.
Originally, his idea was to work between the German and Chinese markets but then found that the Chilean market was a better fit, and as Enrique says, “it was the perfect starting point.” On why he chose to return to Chile, he says that “it is the ideal launching platform and a smaller market than Germany but a perfect market for refining the business model and a future expansion,” immediately mentioning the importance of imports and exports in the Chilean market and that it is a “strategic point for South America.” His plan for the next year is to become the number one online platform for trade opportunities for small and medium companies in South America and in, in three years, to be completely global. To make headway towards these goals, he will travel to China in 2011 to take part in the China Import and Export Fair.
When asked how it feels to be the only Chilean in the Start-Up Chile group, he states: “I don’t feel like a Chilean. I feel like one member of an international group and like someone who is trying to change the entrepreneurial mindset in Chile.” Though he has been back in Chile for only a couple of weeks, he notes the importance of the program saying that it is a “very important process in Chile now” and that he is looking forward to imparting his foreign-acquired knowledge to his local peers. Finally, he add that it is “a great challenge because I want to be at the top with the other guys.”